Pilar exec asks DOE for a moratorium on arrest of illegal petro traders

By Rosalie B. abatayo |January 18,2019 - 10:13 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines— The municipal government of Pilar on Camotes Island has asked the Department of Energy (DOE) for a  moratorium in apprehending townsfolk who sell fuel contained in one-liter soda bottles.

Pilar Mayor Eufracio Maratas told Cebu Daily News Digital that he sent a letter to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi  asking him to consider the absence of a gasoline station in their locality and be a little lenient in implementing the law on illegal petroleum trade.

The letter was sent through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) on January 4, said Maratas.

“Bisan until April lang kay naa na man diri sa Cawit nga magtukod og gasoline station. Nag process na man sa ilang documents. In fact, naa na man ang ilang permit. Ang pagconstruct na lang ang kulang,” Maratas told CDN Digital by phone on Thursday.

In the past weeks, residents and officials of Pilar have complained that the town police,  led by Chief Inspector Roy Susvilla, have been strictly implementing the ban on the retailing of petroleum products, which badly affected the livelihood of many townsfolk,  especially that they need fuel to keep their businesses moving.

On Thursday, January 17,  a team from the Department of Energy in Central Visayas (DOE-7) met with  Maratas and the town police.

DOE-7 Legal Officer Russ Mark Gamallo, in a separate interview, said they had to explain the necessity of implementing the law even if  there is no gasoline station on the island.

“Di nato pwedeng kalimtan nga duna tay balaod nga angay sundon ug ipatuman para pud sa kaayohan sa tanan,” Gamallo said.

Under Presidential Decree 1865, the transport, sale and distribution of adulterated petroleum products is prohibited and punishable by two to five years of imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from P20,000 to P50,000.

Adulterated petroleum products include those fuel contained in one-liter softdrink bottles, which are sold in Pilar, or those butane canisters filled with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Gamallo said they committed to help in prioritizing the approval of the remaining documents of the firm that is putting up a gas station in Pilar.

Maratas, on the other hand, said they also promised that as soon as  the gas  station is  operational,  they will help in strictly implementing the law./elb

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